Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg gave an unusual (and rare) interview for the New York Times. She weighed in favor of Judge Sonia Sotomayor’s nomination, as well as, shared her thoughts on abortion:
Q: If you were a lawyer again, what would you want to accomplish as a future feminist legal agenda?
JUSTICE GINSBURG: Reproductive choice has to be straightened out. There will never be a woman of means without choice anymore. That just seems to me so obvious. The states that had changed their abortion laws before Roe [to make abortion legal] are not going to change back. So we have a policy that affects only poor women, and it can never be otherwise, and I don’t know why this hasn’t been said more often….
Q: Are you talking about the distances women have to travel because in parts of the country, abortion is essentially unavailable, because there are so few doctors and clinics that do the procedure? And also, the lack of Medicaid for abortions for poor women?
JUSTICE GINSBURG: Yes, the ruling about that surprised me. [Harris v. McRae — in 1980 the court upheld the Hyde Amendment, which forbids the use of Medicaid for abortions.] Frankly I had thought that at the time Roe was decided, there was concern about population growth and particularly growth in populations that we don’t want to have too many of. So that Roe was going to be then set up for Medicaid funding for abortion. Which some people felt would risk coercing women into having abortions when they didn’t really want them. But when the court decided McRae, the case came out the other way. And then I realized that my perception of it had been altogether wrong. (emphasis mine)
Q: When you say that reproductive rights need to be straightened out, what do you mean?
JUSTICE GINSBURG: The basic thing is that the government has no business making that choice for a woman.
So basically she sees abortion as a means of population control that should be made readily available to those who are not able to afford it for themselves. Too bad the Times reporter didn’t get her to articulate which populations we “don’t want to have too many of.”
The logic she demonstrates is mind-boggling to me as well. One one hand, “government has no business making that choice for a woman.” But on the other hand she wants the government to pay for said “choice.” Well, which do you want Justice Ginsburg? The government to not be involved or involved? She also doesn’t like waiting periods either.
It’s entirely appropriate to say it has to be an informed decision, but that doesn’t mean you can keep a woman overnight who has traveled a great distance to get to the clinic, so that she has to go to some motel and think it over for 24 hours or 48 hours.
She also thinks the prolife position is doomed to failure.
I still think, although I was much too optimistic in the early days, that the possibility of stopping a pregnancy very early is significant. The morning-after pill will become more accessible and easier to take. So I think the side that wants to take the choice away from women and give it to the state, they’re fighting a losing battle. Time is on the side of change.
Apparently she didn’t know that people are more pro-life than pro-choice. Justice Ginsburg is representative of the type of Supreme Court nominees we’ll be getting from the Obama administration. Let’s pray he won’t have a chance to make another nomination.
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